If you know literally anything about American history, you probably know that the dreaded assassin of Abraham Lincoln was actor John Wilkes Booth.

The assassin spent 12 days on the run, before Union troops caught and fatally shot him in a barn in Virginia.

His remains were eventually buried in a family plot in a cemetery in Baltimore.

But because nothing big can happen without a conspiracy theory surrounding it, in the early 1900s a guy toured the US with a preserved body that he claimed was the actual John Wilkes Booth.

As Christopher Klein wrote for History.com, Finis L. Bates was a lawyer in Texas.

In 1877, he arrived at the sickbed of a man known as John St. Helen.

Fearing the end was near, St. Helen made a shocking confession: he was actually John Wilkes Booth, and the man troops had killed in 1865 had been an impostor.

St. Helen actually lived beyond this deathbed revelation for several decades.

He reportedly took his own life in Enid, Oklahoma in 1903 by ingesting arsenic, which, please never do that.

But before he did, he again revealed his supposed true identity to someone close by.

Bates spotted the story in the newspaper and traveled to Enid to see St. Helen’s remains for himself.

It wasn’t too hard, since the guy’s remains had been placed in the window of the local mortuary!?!

The arsenic and the mortuary treatments had preserved him pretty well.

Finis L. Bates eventually won possession of the body.

He then wrote a book revealing the secret history of John St. Helen, and then rented the remains out to carnivals so that people could look on the face of the man who had shot Abraham Lincoln.

As you’d expect, this drew mostly people who swallowed the story whole, and some of them weren’t happy.

There was at least one mummy-napping, and some Civil War veterans talked about killing the dead body all over again to avenge the Great Emancipator a second time.

Still, the attraction lingered.

The mummy made its first public appearance in 1907, and its last known public exhibition in the 1970s.

Never mind, of course, that Army doctors had identified the actual Booth’s body back in 1865, by spotting his known scars and a tattoo on his wrist that had his initials.

People are gonna believe what they’re gonna believe.

While that would-be mummy of John Wilkes Booth was out traveling the country, going from carnival to carnival, the official Booth was in his grave in Baltimore.

And he’s still there.

The best way to spot him is to look for the gravestone with the pile of pennies on it.

People who visit the Booth family plot like to troll the assassin by covering the top of his burial marker with coins that feature the face of Abraham Lincoln.

⁠The John Wilkes Booth Mummy That Toured The US⁠ (History.com)

Lincoln Cents on John Wilkes Booth’s Grave & Other Numismatic/Graveyard Traditions⁠ (American Numismatic Association)

Photo via Library of Congress